› Outdoor Games for Kids

Outdoor Games for Kids

Outdoor Games for Kids provides daycare providers and parents with activities for children at the toddler and preschool age to run off that extra energy outdoors.

Here are some classic outdoor games, along with some new ideas for the kids.

Outdoor Games Table of Contents

Homemade Bubbles

Squirt Bottles

Mr. Crocodile

Box of Dishes

Duck, Duck, Goose

Sponge Bombs

Ping Pong Ball Target

Waffle Blocks

Red Light, Green Light

Homemade Bubble Mixture

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups Joy Dish Soap
  • 3/4 c. corn syrup

Mix all ingredients together. Let sit for at least 4 - 6 hours before the first use, but I find it works even better after 24 - 48 hours. Store in a one gallon milk jug or other sealed container.

Sponge Bombs

These are so good for a hot day when you want to be playing in water!  I don't change the kids into swim suits.  I just let them get wet with the sponges for awhile and then run around in the sun to dry off.

  • Bright colored sponges
  • Zip Ties or twine string
  • Pliers and Scissors

Cut the sponges lengthwise into three pieces. Take 8 of the pieces and arrange them so colors are mixed well. Either zip tie in the middle, pulling the zip tie as tight as you can or tie together tightly with twine string.   Use a scissors to cut the ends of the zip tie or the twine string.  If you're using zip ties, be sure to cut carefully to prevent sharp edges.

You can either fill a couple of buckets of water and let the kids try to throw the bombs into the bucket, splashing the other kids as they do or you can fill one bucket and throw the bombs up in the air and let the kids try to catch them. Either game will cause laughter and the kids getting wet!

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Squirt Bottles

Another fun water game to play outdoors that does not require swim suits on the kids.

I purchased some smaller squirt bottles at our local hardware store.  These bottles are only 16 ounces, rather than the standard 24 ounce bottles I use around the house.  That made it easier for the kids to handle them when they were filled with water.

I fill each child's bottle and then we all gather together to discuss who wants to get wet and who doesn't.  Anyone who chooses not to get wet is not allowed to squirt the other kids.  They use their water to clean and squirt toys around the yard.  It doesn't matter what they choose.  Everyone has fun!

Ping Pong Ball Target Practice

Super easy to make and super fun for the kids to play with. The only thing you have to watch out for is the wind.

What you need:

  • 16" piece of 2"x 4" wood
  • 7 golf tees
  • A drill
  • 7 ping pong balls
  • A squirt gun

  • Drill 7 holes in the 2x4 and insert the golf tees.

    Kids play by placing the ping pong balls on the tees and shooting them off using the squirt gun. The younger kids will need to stay very close. The older the child, the further away you should place the target.

    Mister Crocodile, What Time Is It?

    As the warm weather hits each year, I reintroduce this game to the kids.  They will play it every single day, whether I'm coordinating it or not.  It's adorable to see them play it on their own.

    How to play:

    I have a fenced in yard, so I have the children line up along the fence.  One child is chosen to be "Mister Crocodile". 

    Mister Crocodile stands with his back to the other kids at whatever distance you deem appropriate for your age group.

    The children at the fence yell out, "Mister Crocodile, what time is it?"  Mister Crocodile yells back with a time between 1:00 and 12:00.  Whatever time Mister Crocodile yells is how many steps the kids get to take.  This continues until Mister Crocodile senses the kids are getting close to him.  Then when they ask "Mister Crocodile, what time is it?", his answer is "Time to Eat!" and he turns around to chase them with the goal of tagging them before they reach their starting point. 

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    Little Tikes Waffle Blocks

    I like providing the kids with things that lets them use their imagination.  Let's face it.  In today's age of electronics, kids really don't know how to "play" anymore.

    Little Tikes Waffle Blocks provide kids with a toy that lets them use their imagination.

    Every day, these are pulled out in my backyard and the play begins.  They've made tunnels, hopscotch, hot lava jumping pads, mazes and more.

    And one of the best things about these waffle blocks is their durability.  They are basically indestructible.  I can let the kids play with them any way they want and I don't have to worry about them getting broken.

    Box of Dishes

    I had been a daycare provider for years and trying to keep kids busy outside, when one summer I decided to get the kids some dishes to play with outside.

    I'm sorry it took me so long to discover how much the kids would enjoy this.

    I have an extensive collection of play food in the playroom indoors, but it was really nice stuff so I didn't want it outside.

    I bought a box of used play dishes off of e-Bay and it was one of the best decisions I made.   

    They enjoy make soups, pizzas, burgers and fries and more.  There isn't a day that goes by when they don't ask for the box of dishes!

    Red Light, Green Light

    How to play:

    Pick one child to be the "stoplight". All the other children are "cars". The stoplight stands in a designated spot, with their back to the other children, about 20 - 25 feet away.

    The children playing the "cars" should line up shoulder-to-shoulder. The "stoplight" hollers out "green light" and all the "cars" begin to move. Picking different amounts of time each time, the stoplight yells out "red light". All the cars must stop immediately. After yelling out "red light", the stoplight turns around. If he/she sees any cars moving, they are sent back to the start line. The winner is the car that reaches the stoplight first.

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    Outdoor Games for Kids:
    Duck, Duck, Goose

    (Also known as Duck, Duck, Grey Duck)

    How to play:

    One child is designated to be the runner. All the other children sit criss-cross applesauce style in a circle.

    The runner starts by walking around the outside of the circle, tapping each child on the head and saying "duck" as they touc each head.

    At any time of their choosing, instead of saying "duck", they say "goose" when tapping a child's head. The runner begins to run around the circle. The child who was tapped as "goose" quickly stands up and chases the runner. If they tag the runner, they sit back down in their spot and the runner repeats the process. If the runner makes it around the entire circle and sits in the empty spot, the chaser now becomes the new runner.

    Play is continued until the children are exhausted!

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    Marcia Reagan is the creator of DaycareAnswers and lives in Central Minnesota with her husband and two children.  She's been an in-home daycare provider for over twenty years and loves to share her experience and passion for daycare with other providers.  

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